Abdul Sattar Edhi: A humble servant of humanity

“People have become educated, but have yet to become human.” Abdul Sattar Edhi, the true definition of a humanitarian. He once narrated that his mother would give him 2 paisa every day; one for his own self and one to give to someone underprivileged. This behavior was reinforced when Edhi’s mother suffered from a stroke and eventually passed away, while he struggled to keep her alive. Given a few years, the man started off with a free dispensary in Karachi and the rest is history.

Edhi Foundation was initiated and run by Abdul Sattar Edhi when he only had 5000 Pakistani rupees in his pocket. However, his relentless services to the community earned him donations in millions that he utilized to run his free organization. Some may argue that there are other philanthropists in the world too, or there are many contributing to mankind; but why Edhi is a name that will live on forever lies in nature of the man who taught us a lot more than just donations:

Leave the judgmental attitude

“The Holy Book should open in your souls, not on your laps. Open your heart and see God’s people. In their plight you will find Him.”

The man saw people beyond their appearances for what they actually are: humans only. Since he had mastered the art of being empathetic to every human being, he helped them with his heart and soul. Once we start judging people based on something as trifling as looks, it is only a matter of time before our actions also become biased. Just imagine how awful a human being you would be if you didn’t help someone in need because of their skin color?

No religion is greater than humanity

When asked, “Why must you pick up Christians and Hindus in your ambulance?”, his reply was, “Because the ambulance is more Muslim than you.”

Abdul Sattar Edhi was a devoted Muslim, and it was that quality that led him to help people from any and every religion possible. Some people become so ‘religious’ that they forget how all faiths bring a message of peace and harmony and beyond the religious filters, we are all humans. Mr. Edhi looked beyond these minor differences and believed that anyone needing assistance had to be aided immediately. No wonder the man was a favorite among children and adults combined.

The real award is love

“When you stop living for luxuries, you understand the real meaning of life.”

In his lifetime, he had enough money that could drive any man over the edge and forget about the real purpose he started out for. But Abdul Sattar Edhi had no love for awards or acclamations. His real happiness was portrayed in his ever so lovely smile when children from his orphanage gathered around him, hugged him and played with him. For him, that was all that ever mattered. Concurrently, the man was always seen in a very simple attire, lived in a tiny little home and ate very non-fancy food. With a man having that much money in his pocket, this is more than just inspiring. It is a life-changing philosophy!

Fame is temporary

“Chasing after desires creates inner turmoil. When the devil becomes guide, dacoits and gangsters are manufactured. He makes men fight against their souls to survive expensive items and most lose everything in the face of his strength. ‘’

Fame can go to the head, any celebrity would endorse that. But Mr. Edhi never even let a drop of it affect him. Despite being one of the most popular names in Pakistan, he was so down to earth that sometimes celebs would come to meet him and he wouldn’t know who they were! He began his journey from a dispensary, and today he runs the most vigilant ambulance service in the country, has numerous orphanages, homes for abandoned females, free medical care facilities, drug rehab institutes, shelters and much more. He has thousands who owe their life to him and millions who are under his protection. The man taught us that once you’ve begun working on your target, you should only look ahead. Fame and money will never go to the grave with you, but humanity always will.

Even one man can be enough

“Those who believed in changing the world were either hungry by circumstance or practiced deprivation by choice.”

Abdul Sattar Edhi was not a political figure. He had no backing whatsoever of any religious, political or governmental organization. He was a an ordinary man, just like each and every one of us who sit in our drawing rooms and cry about what is wrong with the world. But the difference is, that he was a man who strove for his cause ceaselessly. He was alone when he started, but he has millions of people today who will give anything for his cause only due to his name.

You don’t need education to be educated

“Illiteracy is a disability only for those who lived their lives walking and talking while their minds slept.”

When you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.

And perhaps, what we believe is the most inspiring thing about this simple man, is that he was totally illiterate. There were no social science degrees in his closet, nor did he have any diploma in medical care. What he had was a heart of gold and a vision that could change the country, and he did just that. He might not be able to tell you whether the mitochondria was inherited from the mother or father, but he would be able to tell you how to cater a newborn baby girl who was left abandoned by her parents in a dumpster.

For all of us today, the things that matter are race, skin color, gender, religion, nation and other petty filters. But Abdul Sattar Edhi was a man who taught the world that behind all these masks that man has created, lies the one thing that connects us all: a soul.

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